Bob & Trent,
Brother Trent has taken the first step on the long road to rationality. I propose we continue this terrific discussion, preferably in person although I am not opposed to the medium at hand.
Lest this degenerate into Aunt Tillie’s annual Thanksgiving Bible thump complete with frothing testimonials and a Middle School understanding of the epistemologies of the competing theologies; I suggest we a) define the objectives of our own arguments, b) agree not to dig in our heels on another fellows assertion of fact in a way which closes the discussion, (e.x.; ‘nowhere in the OT does it say…’) but rather table the point at issue until someone can objectively substantiate their assertion, and c) stipulate to Hitchens’ razor: “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”
As to my objectives; I will argue you into agreeing:
- God was created by Man. Man was not created by God.
- Confessional Faith has been the most destructive force in history.
- God was created by Man: My modus here will be to supply you with endless references in the New and Old Testaments which are plagiarized from earlier texts. The point of the exercise is not to bring suit on behalf of the original authors (the statutes of limitations have run) but rather to have you agree; If X is asserted as revealed truth, and X can be shown to have been copied from Y then Y was either also revealed truth (believe Archangels visited Poseidon, Shiva and Dionysus ?) – or – the original authors were men, really smart men, but men. Men relying on Reason, without claiming ‘a spirit speaking through them’, or ‘divine revelation’. Socrates, the Stoics, and many others will serve. And, given Trent’s just pride in the University of Virginia, I think somewhere along the way I might heavily cite Mr. Jefferson’s Bible.
- Faith as a Destructive Force By 1) Challenging you to name a good act done in the name of religion (barring exorcisms) which could not be done by a non-believer. 2) All faiths’ resistance to rational inquiry and scientific method. 3) The famous formulation ( was it Stephen Jay Gould’s ?) that in a natural state good people will do good things and bad people will do bad things, but to get good people to do bad things you need religion. 4) Actually this topic is such a target rich environment I may actually enjoy it!
Well, I think I’ll begin with one (actually two) of the stones under The Pentateuch, your Bible and the Koran: The Ten Commandments.
Let’s shatter these tablets between the hammer representing their vacuous stupidity and the anvil of their original author, whom I doubt any of you would worship.
Until that time Eustis,